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The (randomly) selected focus publication for January 2018 is:

Penzel, I. B., Persich, M. R., Boyd, R. L., & Robinson, M. D. (2017). Linguistic evidence for the failure mindset as a predictor of lifespan longevity. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 51(3), 348-355.


Background: When people think that their efforts will fail to achieve positive outcomes, they sometimes give up their efforts after control, which can have negative health consequences.

Purpose: Problematic orientations of this type, such as pessimism, helplessness, or fatalism, seem likely to be associated with a cognitive mindset marked by higher levels of accessibility for failure words or concepts. Thus, the purpose of the present research was to determine whether there are individual differences in the frequency with which people think about failure, which in turn are likely to impact health across large spans of time.

Methods: Following self-regulatory theories of health and the learned helplessness tradition, two archival studies (total n = 197) scored texts (books or speeches) for their use of failure words, a category within the Harvard IV dictionary of the General Inquirer.

Results: People who used failure words more frequently exhibited shorter subsequent life spans, and this relationship remained significant when controlling for birth year. Furthermore, study 2 implicated behavioral factors. For example, the failure/longevity relationship was numerically stronger among people whose causes of death appeared to be preventable rather than non-preventable.

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The (randomly) selected focus publication for December 2017 is:

Ladegaard, H. J. (2017) Workplace narratives. In B. Vine (Ed.), Handbook of language in the workplace (pp. 242-257). London: Routledge.


People use stories to recount and reflect on their lives, and as a means to connect with other people. This chapter outlines some of the major characteristics of narrative, and it discusses the main functions of storytelling in the workplace. Drawing on two large corpora of workplace talk and migrant worker narratives, it explores some of the well-documented functions of workplace narratives: amusement, ingroup-outgroup distinctiveness, and ingroup cohesiveness. It also explores some lesser-known functions: establishing corporate values, and exposing and alienating the cultural ‘other’. Finally, the chapter considers narrative as a safe ‘venue’ for talking about traumatic workplaces experiences.

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The (randomly) selected focus publication for November 2017 is:

Pulverman, C. S., Boyd, R. L., Stanton, A. M., & Meston, C. M. (2017). Changes in the sexual self-schema of women with a history of childhood sexual abuse following expressive writing treatment. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, And Policy, 9(2), 181-188.

Objective: Sexual self-schemas are cognitive generalizations about the sexual self that influence the processing of sexually pertinent information and guide sexual behavior. Until recently sexual self-schemas were exclusively assessed with self-report instruments. Recent research using the Meaning Extraction Method (MEM), an inductive method of topic modeling, identified seven unique themes of sexual self-schemas: family and development, virginity, abuse, relationship, sexual activity, attraction, and existentialism from essays of 239 women (Stanton, Boyd, Pulverman, & Meston, 2015). In the current study, these themes were used to examine changes in theme prominence after an expressive writing treatment. Method: Women (N = 138) with a history of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) completed a five-session expressive writing treatment, and essays on sexual self-schemas written at pre-treatment and post-treatment were examined for changes in themes. Results: Women showed a reduction in the prominence of the abuse, family and development, virginity, and attraction themes, and an increase in the existentialism theme. Conclusions: This study supports the validity of the seven themes identified by Stanton and colleagues (2015) and suggests that expressive writing may aid women with a history of sexual abuse to process their abuse history such that it becomes a less salient aspect of their sexual self- schemas.

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The (randomly) selected focus publication for October 2017 is:

Edwards, J. (2017). The sociology of language teaching and learning. In E. Hinkel (Ed.), Handbook of Research in Second Language Teaching and Learning (Vol. 3)Oxford and New York: Routledge.


Posted by & filed under Job Postings, Member Opportunities.

The following announcement may be of interest to IALSP members:

The Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme 2018/19 for full-time PhD study in the Department of English at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

The Fellowship Scheme is funded by the Research Grants Council (RGC) and welcomes applications from across the globe. It covers a monthly stipend of HK$20,000 and a conference and research related travel allowance of HK$10,000 per year for three years. PolyU will award the same provision for the fourth year of study if applicable.

They welcome qualified applicants interested in the following research areas:

• Language and Professional Communication (including health communication)

• Language Teaching and Learning

• Linguistics, English Language, and Systemic Functional Linguistics

• Media and Communication

• Area Studies and Intercultural Communication


Applicants should check the Departmental webpage for areas of research interest: Please note that the research proposal required as part of the submission is a formal document which should clearly lay out the rationale, methodology, schedule, and impact of their proposed research. In addition, it should clearly align with one of the research interests of a member of our department.

Please refer to RGC’s website and PolyU’s website for details.


Important dates:

(Hong Kong time, GMT+8)

• 1 September 2017 (12.00) – 1 December 2017 (12.00)

   Submission of initial application and research proposal to RGC

• 1 December 2017 (23.59)

   Submission of full application and research proposal to PolyU


If applicants have questions that cannot be answered by referring to the above websites, they may contact Prof Kathleen Ahrens at, Chair of the Departmental Research Committee.